Sunday 16 February 2014

Community Right to Bid - are Barnet trying to make more difficult?

In the list of decisions taken by the council is the decision to commence consultation on the a change  to the criteria for assessing nominations under the Community Right to Bid  legislation. Below is the summary shown on the website and here is a link to the document

The council has developed a draft policy intended to strengthen the criteria for assessing nominations under the Community Right to Bid. The additional criteria are designed to take account of the local context and priorities of the borough, building on the broad criteria set out by Government. This report is to commence a formal 6 week consultation on the changes.

The additional criteria the council are adding suggest that they want to make it more difficult for the community to list items and I wonder if that is because we can expect a series of sales of community assets following the elections in May - assuming the Conservative group retain control. The wording of the additional criteria are set out below.  In particular my reading of clause 4 at the bottom leaves it wide open for interpretation and therefore rejection by the Council of the the Community's right to bid - but maybe someone will tell me otherwise.

If this is something that concerns you make you you participate in the consultation exercise here. The closing date is 25 March.

Draft London Borough of Barnet assessment criteria for defining Assets of Community Value

• When assessing nominations for inclusion on the Register of Assets of Community Value in Barnet, the council will consider the criteria set out in section 88 of the Localism Act 2011 — whether the principal use of the nominated asset furthers the social interests or social wellbeing of the local community and may realistically continue to do so (whether or not for the same use).

• When interpreting these key phrases to make decisions on what constitutes the social interests and social wellbeing of the local community, the council will consider

1. The extent to which the nominated asset is considered to be essential to the special character of the area.

2. The strategic priorities set out in Barnet's Corporate Plan at the time, which are currently:
i. Promote responsible growth, development and success across the borough; 
ii. Support families and individuals that need it — promoting independence, learning and well-being; and
iii. Improve the satisfaction of residents and businesses within the London Borough of Barnet as a place to live, work and study

3. The Core Strategy set out in Barnet’s Local Plan at the time, which includes social, economic and environmental objectives and policies, and provides the overarching framework for delivering sustainable development in Barnet.

4. Barnet’s diverse and growing population and the physical and social infrastructure required to meet its aspirations.
• The council will consider nominations on a case by case basis, with particular regard to:
o The realistic prospect of the asset’s principal use continuing or resuming its contribution to social interests or wellbeing within the next five years
o The sustainability of the asset’s contribution to social interests or wellbeing
o The commercial viability of the nominating group, including the ability to raise funds

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